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Friday, May 13, 2022

Harvard and Slavery

 This week's post appears here.  My thanks to editor Christina Xiao '24.  Other editors might not have been interested.


Energyflow said...

And W, Harvard business school grad, who had Condi Rice and Colin Powell on staff. They paved the way for Obama and made black conservatives acceptable.

Cherry picking history or arguments in general isn't good but generally one is predisposed to a certain mindset and writes in that way. Liberal whites just keep giving in, presupposing that is always good. After a while it just becomes absurd when you call your german shepherd dog a nazi or similar. Life isn't made up of superficialities. Complete historical context is neccessary. The news nowadays is like in Orwell where facts are disregarded for opinion and prropagnda points. Then they do the same to the past by rewriting history, renaming streets, tearing down statues. Ethnic cleansing is the obvious final stage. This is why resistance such as your article is neccessary. We are not just all white and therefore racist. My ancestors in Ireland were enslaved and genocided by British imperialists, your ethnic compatriots suffered in Germany in WWII. Most groups have a similar story. African Americans have their story, but it is not unique. The editor who published your article likely felt subtle racism all her life, from blacks and whites alike. America is not a country of north European anglos and blacks mostly as 160 years ago. Everything has changed. California is largely latino. We have to move on. Clinging to old grudges is just spiteful. New minorities have constantly passed blacks since the gilded age and 60s immigrations. Maybe greater diversity in general will aid in acceptance however. Old habits die hard. We build cliques of ethnic friendships but that breaks down. Eventually one loosens up more and more. I work on this a lot. Otherwise as one ages new waves of immigration leave one dismayed, resentful. As if only the kids who grow up together can really feel for the other types.

Bozon said...


Fascinating discussion.

"...While the report closely examines the role of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Class of 1829, in the expulsion of Black students and promotion of race science within the University as Dean of Harvard Medical School, it says nothing about his son Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Class of 1861..." DK

Social Darwinism was the pinnacle of "enlightenment" social science throuthout the Western World,

as Nicholas Wade chronicled in A Troublesome Inheritance.

The promotion of race science of humans merely followed logically, naturally, and reasonably from the best, and most advanced, progressive biological science of the time.

It is still going on, even more rapidly, now, with genetic and genomic research, genetic modification, genetic treatments, etc.

Holmes Sr. was hardly alone, or in anything but the best of academic and scientific company.

All the best